12 Best Social Media Marketing Campaigns of All Time

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Jun 13, 2024

By Two minute reports

10 min read

The attention span of most human beings is not more than 3 seconds-5 seconds. This is what companies have to leverage to launch a successful social media campaign. In today’s time, we spend hours and hours scrolling, (popularly known as the scrolling culture), and gather our attention towards a particular viral content on social media feeds.

Every now and then, there's a clever social network marketing campaign that captures our attention. They are generally quirky, interactive, entertaining, witty, and moving. They get us chatting and encourage us to consider new possibilities and thoughts. They bring people together and spark the internet.

What makes them stand out from the rest? The innovativeness, creativity and clarity of thought on what’s working for everyone else. Once you have cracked that code, Kudos! You are ahead of your competition.

12 Best Social Media Campaigns Ever

Across time and space, there are certain great social media campaigns that have captivated the attention of mass audiences online and still have left a mark on everyone’s mind. They have used an amazing positioning strategy and have leveraged the beauty of social media platforms.

With our research team onboard, we have curated a list of the twelve best social media marketing campaigns of all time:

1. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

In the year 2014, a non-profit organisation, the ALS association, to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive neurodegenerative disease also called Lou Gehrig’s disease came up with The Ice Bucket Challenge.

This social media advertising campaign captured attention all over the globe, generating awareness and funding for ALS research. With the wise use of user-generated content and peer-to-peer sharing, the campaign achieved remarkable viral popularity, showcasing the ability of grassroots movements to drive social change.

The campaign asked participants to simply pour a bucket of cold water on the tops of their heads or have somebody else do it and then post a video of it. Participants were requested to nominate others. The nominated people then had to upload a video of themselves accomplishing the challenge within 24 hours or make a gift to the ALS Association instead.

According to sources, the campaign was able to generate $220 million worldwide and it had 2.4 million tagged videos worldwide. It was a huge success for the organisation.

2. Dove Project #Showus

The Dove Show Us Campaign used honest storytelling to challenge beauty norms and promote diversity. By generating meaningful conversations around self-esteem and body acceptance, Dove not only marketed its brand, but also championed a social change towards inclusion.

Dove's Project #ShowUs was a huge success because it posed a forceful challenge to the ingrained beauty standards promoted through conventional media and advertising. Dove efficiently tackled the decades-old problem of underrepresentation in visual media by partnering with Getty Images and Girlgaze Photographers to develop the world's largest stock picture collection showcasing diverse female and non-binary persons.

The campaign resonated with viewers throughout the world, particularly women who felt alienated and excluded by standard beauty norms.

Dove's message of inclusiveness and empowerment was enhanced through captivating YouTube video content and targeted collaborations with influencers, driving meaningful conversations across social media platforms. The tremendous reaction, including millions of views on YouTube, promises for a more inclusive image of beauty, and broad acceptance of the #ShowUs hashtag, leading to the social change of inclusivity.

3. Apple-Shot on iPhone Challenge

A very famous campaign by Apple, the #ShotOniPhone social marketing campaign has been a huge success for the company, thanks to its ability to capture the soul of creativity, lifestyle, and innovation.

This marketing campaign encouraged iPhone users to showcase their photography talents by posting their experiences on social networking platforms. With this, the company not only showed the excellence of its camera technology, but also generated a sense of enthusiasm among its customers.

The strategy used by the company actually goes beyond basic marketing norms; it fosters a conversation about the company, stimulating conversations and exchanges between consumers and influencers alike.

It pushed the concept that its premium quality products are more than simply tools; they empower creativity and self-expression.

Finally, #ShotOniPhone relies on the company's reputation for providing amazing experiences, while simultaneously increasing the sense of belongingness towards the brand.

4. Warner Bros. Barbie Campaign

Warner Bros. Barbie became the talk of the town in the year 2023. Using a smart "breadcrumb strategy," Warner Bros. ran a tremendously effective social media campaign for the Barbie movie.

To sustain audience engagement and anticipation, this strategy called for staggered content releases over a prolonged period of time. The campaign began with teaser trailers broadcast more than a year in advance, resulting in millions of engagements on social channels.

The launch of an AI-powered selfie-generator tool that enabled users to make personalised movie posters, generated further buzz. They also made use of influencer marketing through celebrity endorsements such as Zooey Deschanel.

Behind-the-scenes content and user-generated posts further boosted discourse and enthusiasm about the film. Warner Bros.' precisely designed campaign efficiently maximised social media impact and maintained audience engagement in the run-up to the film's release.

5. Spotify Wrapped

If you're a Spotify user, you've most likely visited the app's wrapped area!

Spotify Wrapped has become an annual sensation, providing users with a tailored picture of their listening habits throughout the year. With its interactive and shared structure, users excitedly await the reveal of their most-played artists, songs, and genres, as well as their overall listening time and favourite podcasts.

Spotify has not only developed a wonderful tool for consumers to reflect on their music consumption, but it has also built a feeling of community and rivalry as listeners attempt to influence their future Wrapped results. This is a great social media campaign to promote its features.

6. “You Rule” Campaign by Burger King

Burger King's popular "Whopper, Whopper" jingles dominated much of 2023, giving the chain the most share of voice among eateries in NFL-related talks. This year's main social media theme has been "You Rule," focusing on the consumers who initially helped the jingle go viral.

Burger King posts throughout the year, Burger King's social media creatives have used this concept in their content, with captions like "It's Crowning Szn" for a homecoming post and a compilation of user-generated images with the tagline "y'all out here ruling spooky season."

7. Coca-Cola Share a Coke campaign

Coca-Cola's “Share a Coke” campaign elevated personalising to a new level.

The approach of putting popular names on bottles and cans and urging customers to share a Coke with a friend, family member, or loved one who shares that name was a one-of-a-kind social media advertising campaign.

This campaign generated enthusiasm as consumers searched for their names and shared photos of their personalised bottles on social media. This campaign's success was due to the emotional connection it built.

Coca-Cola made each drink feel like a unique, customised present by adding their customers' names on the label.

8. Air BNB’s “Live There” Campaign

Airbnb's 'Live There' campaign increased brand engagement by emphasising the concept of experiencing countries as a local rather than a traveller. Airbnb broke away from traditional approaches and collaborated with influencers that embodied honesty, community, and adventure.

These influencers, known for their authentic tales and dedicated followings, used their various viewpoints to highlight Airbnb's unique services thus elevating the “home-like” social media campaign. From culinary adventurers to unconventional tourists, each influencer captured the spirit of living like a local, connecting with audiences in a personal way.

The campaign's captivating, accessible, and aspirational content encouraged more individuals to use Airbnb's services, cementing the company's status as a pioneer in the hospitality business.

9. Tesla- Tweets by Elon Musk

Tesla's brand is inextricably linked to the charismatic image of its CEO, Elon Musk, whose social media presence has come to represent the company's identity. Musk's unedited tweets and postings routinely make news, boosting interest in Tesla without the need for traditional advertising.

What distinguishes Musk is his sincerity, as his social media material represents his quirky, hilarious, and geeky nature, which is ideally aligned with Tesla's corporate identity.

Furthermore, Musk's direct involvement with customers via social network platforms promotes openness and connection, which is uncommon in the business sector. Whether answering issues or showcasing technological achievements, Musk's social media participation humanises Tesla, making the brand more relevant and interesting to its target audience.

10. Old Spice

Old Spice, which was once known for women's scents, has successfully rebuilt itself by dominating the social network scene with its distinctly hilarious content. Their famous ads, such as "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like," transformed the company's image and created many online memes, boosting brand recognition to new heights.

How did they do this? Old Spice used the power of surprise and comedy to continuously catch their audience off guard with unexpected turns and laugh-out-loud material. Whether it was riding a horse backwards or teleporting into many locales in a single frame, the brand consistently astonished viewers, making each social media ad a viral hit.

They proved that when skillfully advertised, even common things like body wash can pique people's interest and entertain them.

11. Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino- The Glittery Social Media Campaign

Starbucks' Unicorn Frappuccino, introduced as a part of the Frappuccino Happy Hour in April 2017, became a social media craze and a commercial success. Starbucks produced a visually attractive, glittering pink and purple frozen drink for Millennials who enjoy photographing their meals, which is only available in certain outlets for a short time.

This strategy capitalised on the fear of missing out, driving considerable traffic and increasing same-store sales by 3% in America during the second quarter of 2017. The Unicorn Frappuccino and its hashtag sparked approximately 155,000 Instagram posts, leading to its viral success.

However, the fun element of this social media advertising campaign is despite reports about its flavour and worries about its high sugar content and difficulties in preparation, the campaign's short duration increased its attractiveness, making it a noteworthy example of success.

12. Gillete- #TheBestMenCanBe and #MyBestSelf Campaign

Gillette's outspoken position against toxic masculinity in a viral commercial prompted a heated debate on social platforms, showcasing the company's capacity to fight for social change. Despite being one of YouTube's most hated videos, it received tremendous interest, with more than 1.5 million social media mentions in only two days, a remarkable rise from less than 10,000 mentions the week before.

The hashtag #TheBestMenCanBe was extensively used, receiving 187,400 mentions in one day. Despite the unfavourable reaction, this campaign epitomises "outrage marketing," since it sparked discussion and interest about the company.

Five months later, Gillette reinforced their dedication to the community with the #MyBestSelf ad, which was praised for its favourable representation of the transgender population. Overall, these campaigns demonstrated Gillette's willingness.

This kind of social media marketing is often called negative marketing, which can also make or break a company’s brand positioning in the minds of the target audience.

Conclusion

Reflecting on the vast range of social media marketing strategies presented here, it is clear that success transcends platforms, audiences, techniques, and messaging. What these businesses share is their capacity to innovate and captivate their target customers. Whether on Instagram, TikTok, or other platforms, these ads demonstrate the power of interacting with audiences in significant and unexpected ways.

The overall takeaway for marketers is clear: keep pushing the boundaries of engagement by providing value and relevance that genuinely resonates with your audience. Accept the challenge of originality and sincerity, and who knows? Your campaign may be the next to inspire and engage people, maybe earning a coveted position on future lists of noteworthy social network marketing.

Whether you're contemplating Facebook ads, Instagram ads, or something we haven't covered yet, such as Snapchat ads or LinkedIn ads, we hope these strategies inspire you! If you are looking for extravagant social media marketing campaign ideas, and do not know where to start! We will be more than happy to help! Connect with us at Two Minute Reports.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a social media campaign?

A social media campaign is a marketing exercise consisting of a set of actions, aimed at promoting a service, product, company or even a message. Such campaigns can take various forms, including a series of posts, an engaging competition, targeted content, influencer marketing, etc. It is usually a part of a larger marketing strategy, with a lot of planning and thought into the design and content that goes on social media platforms.

How to create a social media campaign?

Here is a brief, step-by-step dive into creating an effective social marketing campaign:

  • Define the goals for your campaign
  • Identify which social media platforms to use
  • Identify your target audience
  • Choose which metrics you want to monitor
  • Create a social media calendar
  • Plan your content
  • Analyse the results
  • Use the metrics to optimise your campaign

We suggest researching tools to help you in designing, planning, measuring and analysing metrics, etc. They will make your much job easier.